February 2013

“How do I know that you delivered what you said you did”? “There is no way you delivered 150 gallons to my tank”.

For some reason, consumers are reflexively suspicious about their heating oil delivery, but never think twice about the gas station pump. Perhaps, it’s because Heating oil deliverys usually occur during the the day when most people aren’t home to witness it, but you are always present when you fill tank on your car (unless you fill up in Oregon, which is a whole different regulatory story). So, here is some information to clear up this very common source of misunderstanding.

In the city of Seattle, gas station pumps and our heating oil truck meters are governed by the same agency;The City of Seattle Consumer Affairs Division, Weights and Measures Program. This agency also regulates taxi cab meters, price scanning devices and retail and commercial weigh scales.

As required by city code, all of our truck meters are subject to annual testing to prove that the meter is accurate to 2/10th of a gallon for every 300 gallons. Similarly, every gas station pump in the city of Seattle is subject to the same testing by the same city inspectors to a similar variance. A round sticker certifying accuracy and authenticity is placed on the pump or meter. The sticker is placed in such a way that tampering cannot occur without destroying the sticker. This gives the consumer assurance that the gallon reading printed on the ticket, or receipt, are the actual gallons pumped.

The photo on the left shows a green weights and measure sticker from a local gas station pump. The photo on the right show the same sticker from a Genesee Fuel delivery truck.

Penalties for violations include fines and possible revocation of business license. Repeat offenders can be convicted and jailed. Needless to say, we take compliance very seriously.

Next time your are filling your gas tank, look for a round sticker on the face of the pump that says “City of Seattle, Weights and Measures”. You can find that same sticker on our heating oil meters.